What is Candida? | The Beginning of My Sugar-Free Life

All Health Begins in the Gut. Find out about Candida, the Causes of Gut Dysbiosis, Why I Went Sugar Free, and to Improve Your Health from the Inside Out.

Is it possible to stop eating sugar?

What is candida anyway?

Why do I avoid dates, and why am I so picky about sweeteners on this blog?

Come find out.

If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you’ve noticed something.

– I don’t post recipes including dried fruits, and when I feature them (like in my Allergy-Free blog hop), I present an alternative.

– I use alternative sweeteners (like stevia and even–gasp–xylitol and erythritol.)

Why is that?

Well, I used to be a real sugar-aholic and that led to some pretty bad health effects.

I thought I really needed to share some of the story with you so that you could learn more about me–and perhaps learn how to better care for yourself and your family.

I grew up in a family eating the Standard American Diet (SAD).  A typical daily menu would look like:

– White bread toast with margarine and cinnamon sugar on it (and it wasn’t my Healthified Cinnamon Sugar)
– School lunch (maybe pizza, milk, and dessert.  When I got into high school, it was likely
–  Pasta, stir fry, etc.
– of course, after school snacks of dry cereal, ice cream (like Breyer’s Natural Mint Chip)

Of course, there was variation, but you get the idea.

As I grew older, my “health consciousness” grew, and I started eating more and more vegetables and fruits, and even whole grains, but I still was a real sugar addict.

I even worked at an ice cream parlor for years, which was a completely bad idea.

All employees would snack on the ice cream and candy bar toppings (when we had time), and there were numerous days when I came home stuffed and just couldn’t eat dinner.

Years went by.  I ended up with health issues that no one could connect the dots with.

itching in my ears, which the doctor said was likely just dry ears “It’s a vicious cycle.  Just stop scratching them.  It’ll go away.”
vaginal itching (diagnosed as vaginitis)
–  tinea versicolor (a fungus that discolors the back and abdomen with white, itchy spots.  Typically it shows up in summer months.)

And as more years went by, more conditions showed up:

bloating
on and off fatigue
mood fluctuations
insomnia
I clearly remember the day (about 3 years ago) when I was standing after church, talking with two friends of mine.  They were talking about candida.  And sugar.  And changing their diets.

I was listening, but basically might as well have had my fingers in my ears, because I didn’t want to hear what they were saying.

They were talking about:

bloating
severe mood fluctuations
rashes
vaginal “issues”

(Hmmm…sounds familiar, eh?)

And they were talking about candida.

I’d heard about candida, but no doctor had said that I had it.  They should know what they are talking about, right?

Hmmmm…

One of my friends said she had had manic-depressive episodes and thought she’d have to give up homeschooling, but going sugar-free had helped her greatly.

I. didn’t. want. to. hear. that.

Me?  Give up sugar.

No way.

I really was basically standing there with my fingers in my ears humming to myself to block out their words…..

Well, fast forward six months or a year.

My symptoms progressed.  Now I had:

severe fatigue
mood swings and depression (it’s pretty easy to be depressed when you are severely fatigued.)
itching scalp (sometimes this got pretty bad.)
insomnia (I had always had a hard time sleeping, but it was getting worse.)

I felt like I’d hit rock bottom.

I didn’t know what to do, but a friend who participates in our family’s whole foods co-op shared her struggles with sugar and candida with me.

She pointed me to a site called Whole Approach.  I took their Candida Symptom Assessment Questionnaire and my score was super high.

My allopathic background (I had been pre-med in college) led me to be suspicious of any “self-diagnosing questionnaire”, but I needed help.

I poured over their site, and ordered their cleansing and candida-killing supplements, and started the candida diet.

Well, there is a lot more to tell.

I had horrible die-off reactions the first two weeks or so of the diet.

My diet had changed and now I was eating:

no sweeteners that feed candida (sugar, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, agave, maple syrup, honey, etc.)
no fruit
no dried fruit
limited starches

Later, after following their protocol pretty carefully, I found myself in a pit of bad health again.

I’ll be sharing more about that later.  But let’s just suffice it to say that I now think there is much more to treating candida than just cutting back on sugars and starches.

I do think checking out Whole Approach’s site for dietary ideas and for their self-assessment can be quite helpful.

But I think you’ll be intrigued to hear more about candida and its ties to other health issues in the future.

We’ve had a lot of health struggles in our family.  It is hard to deal with them all, but I do hope that what I share can bring help and healing to others.

UPDATE –  June 2013.  There is a GREAT Gut Health Course (I am an affiliate for the course, so if you register through my link I will get a commission) that is going to be taught starting July 10 for 10 weeks.  It’s a great “learn when you can” ecourse so you can follow along at your own pace and learn in the comfort of your own home.

You can get all of the details by clicking on the image below.

Heal Gut June 2013

 

 

Other Health-Related Posts:

Could You Have Heavy Metal Toxicity and Not Know It?
Just Tired?  Or Something More?  Take This Quick Test
Just a Red Face? Or Something More?
Food Allergies and Eczema – From Despair to Healing

Some of Our Favorite Sugar-Free Treats:

Healthy “Almond Joy” Bars
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Homemade “Jello”
Chocolate Chip “Cheesecake”-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes (dairy-free) 

(Now remember: I am not a doctor and this post is not to be construed as medical advice.  You should consult with your physician before making any dietary changes or trying any supplements.  But you knew that, right :-)?)

For more of the story, read Candida, My Childhood, and 5 Causes of Gut Imbalance and Busting a Popular Gut Health Myth.

Have you thought about going off of sugar?

This post contains an affiliate link or two.  Please read my disclaimer.
Shared at Food Renegade.

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

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  1. I just took the Candida Symptom assessment on Whole Approach, got a score of 290 🙁 I’ve been researching Candida for a while, and am sure that’s the main cause of ALL my problems, but I just don’t know where to start. Sp many different supplements and treatments, all saying they are the only way to do it. And it’s a lot of money we don’t have. If the Whole Approach wasn’t what worked for you, what did? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Well, in a nutshell, I crashed after following their protocol. And it was bad. I am not sure why but I think it was heavy metals and adrenal issues. I did some work on ridding sugar out totally and working on the metals and adrenals and am doing better now. I am still not out of the woods but I had a friend locally who experienced the same thing. I think candida is something that expresses itself but there are other things going on as well. This is some more about the metals. http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/could-you-have-heavy-metal-poisoning-and-not-know-it-part-one/

      • brooklynD says:

        I didn’t know fruits were bad for you with candida until my DR told me. This is the program he recommended, and it got rid of my y infection in 2 days.

        Lady Soma Advance Candida Supplement
        with Distilled watter (with added minerals)
        organic beans
        garlic
        onions
        ginger
        avacado
        olive oil

        Now that I have my diet straight, I take the lady soma candida supplement, and going to the gym every day I am yeast free!

  2. My whole family tested positive for candida using the spit test. Even my 7 year old. We don’t do antibiotics now but did in the past. Been sugar and grain free for 10 days and, honestly, it sucks. Especially for my husband and kid. Taking Thorne Formula 722, coconut oil, raw garlic, Bragg raw vinegar before every meal, a little raw honey with cinnamon (the good cinnamon), kefir, and Keybiotics. Praying we can add in some starches soon. Before we kill each other. 😉 So far my kid’s allergies seem a tiny bit better, my husband had a skin issue that seems to be improving, and my scalp itches a little less. Hoping it will help my bloating so I don’t literally look 6 months pregnant. Few headaches for me, but not seeing any other die off yet.

  3. Holy cow! My Candida questionnaire score was 220! Um, crap!!! I don’t even know where to go from here. 🙁

  4. Keesha Doss says:

    I know this is going to sound rather silly but I am so glad that someone else has itchy ears! Drs thot I was crazy! I was beginning to think I was, too! Lol!
    My question: Can you go sugar-free like you did while breastfeeding? I have a 7 month old girl. I have an insanely leaky gut. She gets severe exzema every time she feeds from me. I think my adrenals are shot. Probably lazy liver and kidneys. I can’t eat much of anything. Trying to work w/ wholistic dr but so expensive.

    • Hey there! Yes, misery loves company, eh :)? Or should I say :(. Yes you can of course lose the sugar while breastfeeding as it isn’t a necessary nutrient, however I can’t make medical claims so please check w your doc. I know, I have to say that. I so would love to help and have a lot to share …..but I am not a practitioner. There are typical things you could do. Perhaps we could arrange something via email but again, I can only share my own experiences – not prescribe.

  5. Minor perhaps. but you can’t itch an itch. You can only scratch an itch. If you’re publishing, you really must learn this distinction.

  6. Brandy @ A Mindful Mantra says:

    Great read! I, too, did not think I could give up sugar. But, it was so worth it. I was shocked to learn that my vaginal infections, stomach bloat, constipation, skin rashes, depression, anxiety, and mood swings could all be linked back yeast. It changed the entire course of my life!

  7. Yes some fruit has been bred to be sweeter with a higher fruit content, but this is because they are fruits that live outside of the tropics and we have now adapted them to our sweet tastes (which is not a bad thing).
    When humans lived in their original environments near the equator they had plenty of wild, naturally sweet fruit. Humans are natural frugivores so eating lots of fruit is perfect for us. Also NYSTATIN is as natural as they come, its from the soil originally, and is 100% recovered in fecal matter, you don’t absorb any of it (unless you have a leaky gut). The real problem is fat. When you eat fat it blocks the insulin receptors on the cells causing you to need more insulin, wearing out your pancreas leading to diabetes. It also increases your blood sugar as the sugar can’t get into the muscles to be used as quickly as it should.
    There is plenty of people living off nothing but fruit (sugar!) and they are super healthy.
    I haven’t met any healthy people living on a ketogenic diet. As you said yourself after cutting out all sugars your health was still crap. Try High Carb Low Fat Raw Vegan, or even easier High Carb Low Fat Cooked Vegan and you’ll be away laughing!

    • Hi there. I hear you, but I think that gut flora has changed so much that we are much more susceptible to the overgrowth of candida than in years past. I am also not sure about us being natural frugivores. Where do you have that information from?

      I have done a lot of healing since then but still eating too many carbs doesn’t work well for me. I stick to a modified low carb diet with some healthy carbs put in mainly at lunch and dinner. You can read more here: http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/thyroid-disease-hashimotos-blood-test/ Thanks!

  8. Hi, can I give you a little gold nugget of information concerning candida? 🙂

    I’ve removed massive amounts of candida in my body accidentally within a week., because I tried a homemade calcium supplement. My skin cleared up and itching was gone, and energy levels were back. I was also having candida die-off symptoms too. Anyway, if you try, you will see for yourself.

    My homemade (traditional) calcium supplement was like this:

    1. Take a whole fresh egg, wash it with vinegar, to remove residues and the factory stamp. Rinse with water afterwards.
    2. Squeeze 3-4 lemons and strain the juice into a medium mason jar.
    3. Put the egg in it (the whole egg, don’t crack it).
    4. Leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day, consume a tablespoon of the liquid. Swish the egg gently so that the juice mixes well with the dissolved shell.
    5. Consume within 1 week, 1 tablespoon every day, and keep it in fridge.

    It’s so powerful, I couldn’t believe it. After all, it’s just some lemon juice dissolving the egg shell calcium. But it’s easily absorbable.

  9. I happened across this and I’m so glad that I did! I’ve recently just gotten my first Yeast Infection caused by antibiotics and no matter what I try, it just won’t seem to go away! I’ve been to the doctor and the medicine they gave me didn’t work. I’ve decided to really start taking what I eat seriously and that means no more sugar for me! Your blog has made me feel a lot more positive about this decision and excited to give it a shot! My biggest thing is that I have no idea where to start, I’ve been doing research, but I’m just not sure about what I can or even should be eating.

    • Hi Shay. Glad you are here too!

      Here’s a post that should help. There is a menu guide on this site that should prove to be helpful. http://www.wholeapproach.com/

      Sounds like a post I should write! You can do it. Pretty much you avoid all refined flours, sweeteners that feed candida, then all fruits except low glycemic ones. Limit beans to 3 cups max per day. And no moldy foods. Things like pecans and walnuts and cashews can be an issue as well.

      rickiheller.com is a great resource as well. This book (affiliate link) is fabulous. http://amzn.to/1Ywt4Os

  10. Dear reader, I am sharing how I got well from Candida, allergies, and an auto immune breakdown. You can use this information as a stepping stone in starting a new healthy life style, inside and out. There is a lot of more information out there, but I will try to keep it short and to the point.
    My meals are very artless so I don’t occupy my precious life cooking, although in the beginning you might have to. I do all my cooking in the morning, example for Day 4): a pot of 3 pounds of chili turkey, garlic, cumin, sea salt, coconut oil, and a salad, seasoned with oil and salt or lime if your body is ok with it. Google “Candida diet” for allowed foods. It can be frustrating from all the poles apart info out there, because everyone says something different. But, they all might be right. Our bodies are different and what works for a group of people might not work for another. Keep searching, reading, and testing foods, eventually you will create your own. It’s a quest to “knowing yourself.” Some people with Candida tolerate wheat more than others, go figure. It’s a trial error, don’t give up. Every little bit helps.
    I would like to put some time in writing about “how much can we eat.” With candida it’s necessary; we don’t want to feed the beast. With carbohydrates such as yucca, some doctors and candida experts recommend 30-50g up to 80g of carbs a day. More can exacerbate candida, at least in the beginning. And for fruits it is recommended no more than a cup of fruit a day. As your immune system recovers your gut will heal, and the allergies and symptoms will be reduced. But, that can take a while. We don’t want to aggravate the gut or the internal constancy with allergy foods. At one point I was so ill that I was covered with a candida patch all over my body. I did 0 carbs for 6 months, and fasted once a week to rest and heal my gut. I took 8 drops of oregano oil a day (not recommended!). The problem in approaching Candida with such intensity is that the toxins from the die off are severe to the body. But I am young and fit and that helped me not to die from the die off. If you are a senior or a child I don’t vouch for this approach, because you will spend most of the days exhausted, fogy minded, joint pain, scratching, wrinkled skin, and maybe die along with Candida.
    Thankfully now I am at 110 carbs, and feel great. I increased the carbs very carefully and slowly. I am at a state where I can manage, and I have felt a few spurts of healing within my immune system. Although, I still keep my fruit intake to about a cup a day, and eat low sugar fruits (all types of berries, green apples…). Use this diet as an elimination diet, too. This might have to be a life style for you. Read about “Elimination Diet.”
    I have gone off my program a couple times, because I felt great, then I was reminded why I was in it in the first place. Candida comes back-slowly. When I cheat I do it by incorporating a cheat food into my program. For example, for one of the days with sweet potato I buy Organic Sweet Potato Chips. Or on beef day, I eat Organic Hotdogs (Trader Joe’s) with no preservatives, sugars, nitrates etc. This diet is my own, see what works for you. Your food allergies might be different from mine, or not. For example, I react to all nightshades, and high sugar fruits like grapes, watermelon, which most people with Candida do.
    I try to stay away from packed, wrapped, sealed, boxed, zipped, bagged, tinned, or canned foods. If I do, I buy it Organic with NO other ingredients, BPA free and chemical free packaging. Another example is minced Garlic in a glass jar, with only citric acid. If it’s organic I feel better buying it, as long as the ingredients have no fillers, colors, or preservatives etc… Be wary of canned goods, the coating inside are filled with chemicals that aggravate the immune system. If in doubt call the manufacturer.
    The key is to bring the body to homeostasis so the immune system can control/kill the bug. After being on the diet faithfully, you can introduce other foods in large quantities-to test the results. But unless you are strict with your program it’s hard to tell which food is giving you a certain reaction. Only you can find out what types of foods you are allergic to. Most allergy tests are not complete, because they don’t cover all food types, but getting tested helps. I suggest to Google Candida Diet for examples, and as a tool to help you decide what you might be allergic to. You can begin by choosing 1 veggie, and 1 fruit a day, that you are not allergic to. Be strict, wait a couple weeks, and then begin introducing other foods one by one. Testing each food for 4 days to see any results, then try another, and wait 4 days. It’s hard in the beginning, but it’s worth it.
    Repetitive eating of the same foods, day after day is a major cause of food allergies. The rotation diet helps rebuild the immune system by reducing stress, and damage to our gut. To help organize my food rotation, I bought four big plastic containers each one representing a day and I placed all the foods for that day in each container. You can also use a simple color code system, a color representing each day.
    Here are some example results of some symptoms: Russet potatoes; brown color under the eyes, & temples, tired, itchy neck, and had skin inflammation especially around my neck. Nightshades; give me a dark sharp line under the eyes, itchy eyes and neck that lasted 5 days. Vinegar; bad inflammation and bad wrinkles around my eyes. Grains and legumes; give me dry thick leather like feeling around my neck, wrinkles, and joint inflammation, itching, eczema breakouts, and fatigue, although I have found I can tolerate rice a lot better now. If I eat over 1 cup of a high sugar fruit like grapes, I itch around my neck, back, arms, behind my knees, and perspire. Corn; gives me an itchy scalp, dandruff, hair falls, wrinkles all over, itchy swollen neck, eczema breakouts, stomach inflammation, and I perspire. Vitamin C powder; inflammation, wrinkle, & pink around my eyes. Stevia; so far so good. Sugar Free Organic Strawberry Jam from Trader Joe’s, sweetened with Xylitol, no noticeable reaction yet. Ingredients: Strawberries, Xylitol, water, Pectin Powder, Citric Acid. ONLY. And, they say Xylitol actually helps fight Candida. Sorbitol sweetener is not recommended, it’s an aggravator.
    A holistic approach is the best tactic and includes mind, and body. As you eliminated foods that you recognize you are allergic to, start eliminating negative stress in your life. They say it is the number 1 cause of disease, I agree. I find this to be true in my case. Work with a counselor to help manage stress. We can’t place our whole emotional burden on our families. For some of us, if we could do it with the same methods we’ve practiced, we would have gotten well a long time ago. I got well through continuous therapy, diet, and being persistent in change. I also had to get away from negative environments in order for my mind and spirit to heal. I have learned that negative environments are contagious, and we will become ill if exposed to them long enough. Also, people usually are part of a negative environment. Some therapists will take you for a sliding fee ($10-$20) if you qualify. Even once every other week helps. Look for a therapist you are comfortable with.
    Leaky Gut (intestinal permeability) is the reason for our allergies. The way I understand we get a leaky gut is when Candida mutates into its stronger forms damaging the stomach lining creating holes. Undigested food particles pass through the separation between cells and enter directly into our blood stream and our immune system recognizes it as foreign, hence reacts as such. Pharmaceutical companies are in a weapons race against Candida, because it keeps getting stronger, since it reproduces so fast it’s able to adapt to stronger antibiotics. But yeast becomes Candida when our immune system is weak.
    Candida comes back slowly so I am vigilant, and will stop or reduce it if I feel any reaction. Fish twice a week as long as they are different species. I am able to tolerate lentils to a degree. Although, if you want to get rid of your allergies eliminate legumes and grains for a while, because they are difficult to digest and are antagonistic. If you find yourself not able to live without grains and legumes, include them on one of your days. I keep my seasonings to a minimum; I also had to eliminate many spices. I drink lots of water to eliminate the toxins that Candida expels daily. The toxins are what make us sick. Also, we need a healthy elimination regularly, because that’s where we get rid of the bug.
    I gave up sugar except in fruit. No cane sugar, honey, molasses, syrups, sodas, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, toppings, dressings, veggie juices, nut butters with added sugars, Jams, fruit juices, any packaging with sugar, frozen dinners, breads with added sugar… Totally feeds Candida. Jams are almost pure sugar. There are Organic Jams that have Xylitol sweetener. Try it out and see how you react.

    http://www.20somethingallergies.com/genova-diagnostics-allergy-test-jennifer/
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/test-tube-yeast-evolve/
    http://cemmed.com/rotation-diet-for-allergy-control/
    Fundamental Diet:
    Day 1) Organic ground beef & wild caught salmon, sweet potato, lettuce, arugula&green apple. Avocado oil.
    Dar 2) Organic chicken, yucca, cabbage, onion, and strawberries. Organic olive oil.
    Day 3) Wild caught sole fish, rice/lentils, spinach, carrots, oregano herb, and blueberries. Grape seed oil.
    Day 4) No antibiotics or hormones ground-turkey, plantains, organic broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, and mango. Organic coconut oil. (Note: mushrooms are a fungus.)
    Fundamental Supplements:
    As soon as I wake, on an empty stomach:
    • ½ a drop of an Organic Essential Oil with carrier oil.
    • 1g of L-Glutamine Amino Acid with 1oz of water only.
    Half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach and at least half hour after the essential oil & glutamine.
    • Pro-Biotic Acidophilus 14 Billion with the 3 Bifidobacterium’s.
    • 1 Multi-Vitam-Min supplement or B Vitamin. (I rotate them.)
    At least half hour before your next meal on an empty stomach.
    • ½ a drop of Organic Essential Oil with carrier oil.
    • 1g of L-Glutamine Amino Acid with little water.
    At bed time, on an empty stomach
    • Pro-Biotic Acidophilus 14 Billion with the 3 Bifidobacterium’s
    I get ½ a drop of essential oil in every serving by taking ¼ teaspoon and filling a small container with 30 servings (25g) of carrier oil, like Organic Olive Oil. Then, I place 15 drops of an essential oil into the same container with the 30 (25g) servings of ¼ teaspoon of carrier oil. Mix well. Now you have 30 servings. That’s half a drop of essential oil in each ¼ teaspoon serving. (15 drops/divided by/30 ¼ teaspoons= ½ drop essential oil per serving). I buy my supplements online it’s a lot cheaper.
    If you want the concoction a little stronger, you can increase the dosage to 30 drops of essential oil to the container with the carrier oil, & that will give you 1 drop of e.oil in each ¼ teaspoon serving. I keep it very low, for long term use. Some people use a lot more as a dietary supplement, but I use only what I need.
    I rotate my e.oils every month with Organic; Oregano, Frankincense, and Thyme Oil. For a more mild natural antibiotic concoction instead of the strong Oregano, you can mix 50/50 Organic Cinnamon/Peppermint oils, as an example. In my opinion these are safe ingestible oils; some are toxic period, and all are toxic in large amounts. All supplements and oils have side effects if used improperly. If you are taking prescription medications, see your doctor for any possible interactions.
    Here is my magic concoction I’ve been using to heal my skin. Mix 3oz of olive oil, 3 drops of Thyme Essential oil, ½ teaspoon %100 Glycerin, and 1g %100 Hyaluronic Acid. I’ve noticed that it removes wrinkles, and fades scars. My skin looks smooth, full, and has a glow. If you find yourself itching a little it’s from the essential oil. It usually stops after 20 min, just try not to scratch. You can also reduce it to 2 drops per 3oz.
    Supplements I take today to boost my immune system. But are not necessary. I use them in moderation and take what works for me. Some of these supplements I use to manage symptoms of bipolar and ADHD, too.
    As soon as I wake up, on an empty stomach, I take:
    • 1 teaspoon of Colloidal Silver.
    • 1 teaspoon of Omega 3 fatty acid oil (I skip when I eat fish).
    • Half a drop of an essential oil mixed with a carrier oil.
    • 1g of L-Glutamine Amino Acid Powder.

    On an empty stomach (1hr before breakfast) mixed in 1 cup of water:
    • 1 heaping teaspoon of Slippery Elm Bark powder.
    • 1g of L-Glutamine powder.
    • 1 capsule of Pro-Biotic Acidophilus 14 Billion with the 3 Bifidobacterium’s.
    • 1 Multi-Vitam-Min Capsule (I take every other day, and rotate with Vitamin B complex).

    Afternoon, half hour before my second meal, on an empty stomach, I take:
    • ¼ teaspoon of L-Glutamine powder.
    • Half a drop of Organic essential oil mixed with a carrier oil.

    In the evening on an empty stomach I take:
    • Half a capsule of GABA, (or full capsule 750mg. Depending how I feel). 11pm.
    • 1 capsule of Pro-Biotics Acidophilus 14 Billion with the 3 Bifidobacterium’s.
    • 1g of L-Tryptophan powder to sleep. (If I feel bipolar symptoms I take 2g).

    I have looked into their chemistry to make sure that the supplements don’t cancel each other out the way I have configured them. And, I have done research on reliable brands that are affordable. Since the FDA cannot certify almost all natural supplements, look for 3rd party certifications or Organic. Even though the FDA does not check or test natural supplements, they do check the 3rd party company’s reliability and safety, because of public health. I learned that in statistics. An example of a good 3rd party certification is being GMP Assured. All 3rd party companies make sure that the ingredients on brand name labels are what they claim it is. Off course to a certain degree of acceptable mean, deviation, and within a range. But it’s the best we can do.
    Taking probiotics with food is not recommended by some; the argument is that when taken with food, stomach acids would kill most of the probiotics. Makes sense to me, hence I take them without food. But if you decide to take them with food, that’s ok, too. The point is to take them.
    Supplements can be very expensive, and it took me a while to build this list. But all you need are the “fundamental supplements” and diet, which is what I used to get well and maintain my status quo-except that the dosage and serving was much higher for the essential oils in the beginning.
    You might not need all the approaches on here, and at the end I don’t even know what really helped heal me. Maybe it was a combination of all of these, including reducing stressors in my life. Maybe a holistic approach was the key. I do feel the difference. And I might remove or reduce some of these supplements in the future. But definitely the “fundamental supplements” I will keep. Good luck.

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